The Engadin offers many mountain bike rides that focus less on performance and more on fun, adventure and refreshment stops en route. Here are three top tips.
“Pump” instead of pedal! If you have never seen a pump track, picture a large playground with humps, dips and banked curves. You create momentum with up-and-down body movements, known as pumping, to glide through the course without having to pedal. It’s fun, and the venue offers ideal practice terrain for the whole family. The Cuntschett pump track, located by Pontresina railway station, offers various route options and is popular with skateboarders, too. You can hire bikes and protective clothing opposite at the bike centre (“Schweizer Langlauf- und Bikezentrum”) or above the road junction at the Bernina Sport shop.
For a ride that is particularly leisurely – or “pachific”, as locals say in Romansch – try a trip to the sparkling Lej da Staz (Lake Staz). This alpine swimming lake framed by forest is easy to reach from Pontresina, Celerina and St. Moritz, and is popular with families and barbecue enthusiasts. The dark colour of this moorland lake contributes to the water warming up in the sunshine to up to 20 degrees. A refreshing dip and a cappuccino at the restaurant Lej da Staz complete that holiday feeling.
The Engadin takes its name (“Garden of the Inn”) from the river Inn, which rises on the Piz Lunghin as a small stream, flows into the Danube and eventually the Black Sea. The Inn cycle trail (Inn-Radweg) follows the course of the river from Maloja to Martina, where the Engadin meets Austria. The section of trail in Switzerland extends for 115 kilometres, of which 60 kilometres are tarmac and 55 kilometres are unsurfaced. Individual stretches make ideal day-trips – for example, from Sils along Lake Silvaplana to Silvaplana and on to Lake Staz.